Over the course of the last couple of years, I have been extremely active in collecting addresses for several cities in New Brunswick, Canada.
Here are some different techniquques I have used over the course of the last few years and some things that I have learned.
When I started mapping, I was huge proponent of using my GPS for everything! I wouldn't leave the house without my GPS hanging faithfully at my side. During this period, my interest in addrress collection was kindled. I would leave the house and walk down one side of the street, making a POI for every single hoouse number. I would then go back, open up JOSM, and spend countless hours pouring over a relatively small dataset. This was due to the innacuracy of the recorded POIs. I is more time dragging around POIs, trying to figure which house they went with, than I would actually editing the map.
After several weeks of this method, the reward of seeing address points on the map was quickly dwarfed by the despair at how long it took to get them there.
This lead to a second method of address collection, a voice recorder and a GPS. http://josm.openstreetmap.de/wiki/Help/AudioMapping This was by far my favourite way to collect data. It was fast, efficient, and got rid of me having to type in every address. It also allowed me to record notes, helping to offset the problem of figuring out which POI went with which house. When taking a poi, I could now say the house number, the color of the roof, and any other significant features.
Upon beginning to analyze the data I had collected, I realized that I had solved my complaints from the previous method of data collection but I had introduced a host of new ones. Before, the most time had been spent entering the house numbers into the GPS when collecting the data, and figuring out which POI went with which house due to innacuracies when recording the POI. These were effectively solved, being able to walk and talk sped up data collection, and having the color of the roof allowed me to more easily place POIs. Unfortunatley, I was spending just as much time as before listening to myself over and over again!
I kept this approach up for a number of months, unable to think of a more effective method in which I could collect data. I wanted something that could be used in any weather, any lighting condition, and would allow me to walk at my normal pace.
Innovations can come in strange ways. The allure of pen and paper, soon caught up to me. I was growing increasinly tired of listening to my own voice for hours on end. One day I ran out of batteries for my GPS.
Instead, I brought a clipboard, paper, and a pen out of hiding in a dusty cupboard and went to work. At the bottom of the sheet I would record the intersection where I was starting and at the top, the intersection of the city block in which I was heading.
I would then draw in the houses numbers that I walked past. This method allowed for extremely complicated houses to be recorded easily. For non-complicated blocks, ie one or two house numbers per building, it also allowed me to walk very close to my normal pace. Finally, when adding the data to OSM, confusion was kept to an absolute minimum as I was already looking at an overhead view.
When entering the data I would simply count the houses along one side of the block in the aerial phographs and ensure it corresponded to the number I had recorded on paper. Descrepancies were few and far between and usually occured because a house had been torn down but was still shown on the imagery.
Here is a quick example of how I record the data on my sheet Sorry about the hand and the quality, I just used a webcam to grab the pic.
Hope the inspired more people to get out and start collecting addresses!